THEY COME IN ALL COLORS
This is a very timely novel, and Hansen makes a bold and compelling debut with a coming-of-age story about a biracial teen during the start of the Civil Rights Movement. The story is set both in the 60s in the Deep South and the 70s in New York City. It’s a bit confusing at first jumping from one decade to another, but readers will be intrigued and committed and will keep reading. The prose is beautifully fluid and very true to the young protagonist. Readers will empathize as the teenager agonizes over his skin color, girls, friends, race, school, identity, prejudice and justice — and will sympathize as he learns to face himself, his family and the consequences of his actions.
Fifteen-year-old Huey Fairchild has had a hard time transitioning from a small southern Georgia town to the big city. In the past seven years, he’s only made one friend at Claremont Prep School. He’s also noticed that the only person darker than him is the school janitor. Most of the time people think he is white or Italian, until his best friend outs him in front of his girlfriend. Suddenly everyone is looking at him different and calling him names. His mother doesn’t understand his predicament; but he remembers vividly how people of color were treated down South — though the city is no better. The racism may be more subtle, but it simmers underneath. Huey turns his anger and inner turmoil against his friend. First, it’s just pranks and punches, but then he goes too far and the police have to step in. Now, Huey’s world is in turmoil again. (ATRIA, Jun., 336 pp., $26.00)